Road Rash Reviews

The Gates UK Digital Review***--

Cert 15 | 111 mins | 2023

3 star solidly scary British horror film.

The Gates is a 2023 British possession horror film from the pen of Tim Reynolds and Stephen Hall (Killer Night Shift), who also directs.

It is available to stream on Digital Platforms in the UK from 3rd July 2023 courtesy of 101 Films.

“Special day this one William. Very special. You should feel honoured. You ain’t getting the rope. You’re getting something new.”

It’s 1892 in London and William Colcott (Richard Brake3 From Hell, The Sisters Brothers) is a notorious serial killer wanted for the suspected murder of twenty eight women. He appears to be attempting to use them in some way to resurrect his dead wife.

When the police finally catch up to him, they throw him into Bishopsgate prison to await his execution. The day arrives and the Governor (Brian Fortune – Red Room, The Last Show) has a surprise for him, he is to be the first UK prisoner to die by electric chair, new fangled technology from across the pond. It doesn’t quite go to plan, it takes far too long, but at least the job is done.

Meanwhile, Post-mortem photographers Frederick (John Rhys Davies – The Lord of the Rings Trilogy) and his niece Emma (Elena Delia – House of Shadows) have been summoned to record the body. Emma thinks she sees something strange but chalks it up to nerves and they move onto their next job, trying to sell their new machine, ‘The Atmosisor’ to the British Paranormal Society. They are less than impressed.

At the prison, strange things are afoot, something evil is lurking and one of the investigators, Lucien (Michael Yare – Attack on Finland) is sent for, along with a priest, Father Matthews (David Pearse – The Banshees of Inisherin). Emma proves to Frederick that something is wrong with the photos and they decide to head back to the prison to test their machine. Now the gang is assembled for the big supernatural showdown.

“You accept your fate in the same disgusting manner you subjected your victims to theirs. This world shall be well rid of you. The electricity shall pass through your body until you are dead.”

The Gates is an enjoyable film and a good idea for a story. There are quite a few nice elements to it, the soundtrack and sound effects are excellent and really add to the atmosphere. The acting is also pretty good for the most part. It does let itself down a little on the locations, there are a few too many modern day details on show to fully immerse yourself in the period.

It seems a little confused as to what it wants to be about, is it religious, spiritual, scientific?  All three together sit a little uncomfortably. It also doesn’t tie up a couple of the more intriguing story elements, some more backstory about William would have helped and the significance of the electric chair isn’t fully explored.

That said however, the horror in this is good, a couple of very effective jump scares and plenty of blood as well as things which are downright disturbing. Well worth a watch for fans of the British horror scene.

“My niece and I are not conmen, we are scientists sir, trying to prove the greatest truth of all, that there is a life after death.”

The Gates is available on Digital from 3rd July 2023.

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DirectorStephen Hall
GenreHorror, thriller
StarringJohn Rhys Davies, Richard Brake, Michael Yare, Elena Delia
Category: Digital, film, Review